Card for autistic kids will offer 'special treatment'

ABU DHABI - In a humane gesture to reduce the suffering of children with autism, an incurable mental disorder, the government has come up with a card for autistic children.

By Nada S.mussallam

Published: Wed 8 Jun 2005, 10:50 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:57 PM

A first of its kind in the AGCC region, the card would allow children with autism special treatment at public as well as private institutions in the country.

There are more than 2,000 autistic children in the UAE. They are children who live in a state of mental arrest of the developmental areas of ability including language, communication, social and emotional development, as well as complete shut off between the environment and their nerve system.

The launch of the card would be announced by the Abu Dhabi Autism Centre (ADAC) on June 14, under the patronage of Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Education. The sponsors to the initiative are the Abu Dhabi Educational Zone, UAE Red Crescent Authority (UAE-RC), Abu Dhabi Civil Aviation and the ADNOC Distribution Company.

"The move is a wonderful step forward in the country's successful efforts to overcome the social stigma associated with this newly discovered mental disability," Fathiya Al Naddari, Head of First Aid and Social Services Department at the UAE-RC, told Khaleej Times yesterday.

She said the card would secure special care and support for autistic children at various airports, health institutions besides facilitating the different transactions required for them.

Praising the leadership of the country led by President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for supporting such initiatives to give people with special needs their due place in society, she said that workers at the ADAC were discussing the issue with the authorities concerned to extend special immigration facilities to autistic children.

Mrs. Naddari also disclosed that the UAE-RC, in cooperation with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Federation, had prepared intensive training programmes and refresher courses for ADAC staff on theoretical and practical approaches to update them on the recent scientific researches in dealing with autistic children. "Other courses on safety have also been arranged for people with special needs an their parents."

According to medical experts, the underlying mechanism of autism was yet to be defined and that a mere 10 to 30 per cent of cases of autism are felt to be attributable to known factors.

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